Cusco

Series 3: Seldom Visited Sites

Lyle Walker

Want to expand the scope of your Sacred Valley tour? Visit the Inkariy Museum and terraces of Urco where you can discover more about pre-Inka culture.

Series 3: Seldom Visited Sites

(Photo: Pixabay)

The Inkariy Museum

The Inkariy Museum is a relatively new museum that opened in 2014 and is located approximately 4.8 km west of Calca or 16.5 km east of Urubamba and is hard to miss due to the large statue out front. Despite its central location in the Sacred Valley, the museum currently does not get many visitors and I often find myself being the only one there when visiting with guests, which is a shame because it is a very well done and informative museum and worth a stop.


Inkariy (Photo: Lyle Walker)

One of the things I really like about this museum is the fact that they did not just focus on the Inca culture but instead gave equal time and space to a total of eight pre-Columbian cultures, starting with the Caral that dates back to about 2600 BC, making it over 4,600 years old. They also include the Chavin, Paracas, Mochica, Nazca, Wari, Chimu/Lambayeque, and Inka cultures, so if you would like to learn a little more about Peruvian history than just what the Inka did, this would be a good place to visit.

Statue (Photo: Lyle Walker)

Inkariy (Photo: Lyle Walker)

If you would like to visit the Museum it is easily done on your own either by bus from Pisac or Urubamba. If you are planning to hire a car and driver for the day, ask him to make a stop for you. If you are considering using a tour agency for your visit of the Sacred Valley, there are a few companies that offer this as a stop on their tours, so ask your agency about a stop, you might get lucky.

Urco

Many people see at least part of the Urco complex when traveling through the Sacred Valley. When traveling from Pisac to Ollantaytambo, just after passing Calca, there is a large set of terraces on the right side. These terraces are still farmed and there is a small town at the base of them called Urco, which is where the site gets its name. Few people realize there is more to see here.

Just before reaching the Inkariy Museum if coming from Calca, there is a sign on the left side of the road for the archaeological site of Urco, and a small inconspicuous dirt road on the right side. The dirt road will take you up the hill and to a small part of the Urco complex where you will not only find a round building (not common in the area), but also an interesting frog head fountain.


Urco (Photo: Lyle Walker)

There is not much information available about Urco. I have been told that it is Inka as well as pre-Inka, and while the terraces do look to be of Inka construction, the circular building and nearby constructions do not look very Inka like. This is an interesting site that if you have a spare 15 or 20 minutes to spare, is worth a quick stop, and you are almost certain to be the only one there if you do.

Coming up next will be a hidden Inka ceremonial site near Ollantaytambo.

Lyle Walker was born in California, served in the Marines and has spent much of his career working as an industrial engineer. In 2006 he met and married his Peruvian wife, Lily, and in 2012 they moved to the Cusco region to open and run GringoWasi bed and breakfast , where they not only host guests but also help them with their planning. Lyle can be contacted by e-mail at peruvianmongo466@hotmail.com

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